PlayStation Plus Premium vs Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Which one do you need?

Sony just introduced a new and expanded PlayStation Plus service to compete with Microsoft’s generous Xbox Game Pass program. If you have both consoles you’re probably wondering which subscription service is worth your time and money, or if there’s even a case for going all big spender and getting both. Here we break down exactly what you get at each tier of each service, the prices, and some of the games you can expect to get access to as well.

If you haven’t upgraded to the new generation of consoles yet and are considering PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass as part of your decision-making process, make sure you also check out our PS5 vs Xbox Series X guide too.

Basic tiers

PlayStation Spider-Man

(Image credit: PlayStation)

PlayStation Plus Essential

Price – $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly or £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly 

If you’re already a PlayStation Plus subscriber, your package has been renamed the Essential tier. This tier allows you to download two PlayStation games for no extra charge per month, and you can keep those games in your library, and keep playing them, as long as you are still subscribed to the service. As an example, the games for March 2022 were ARK: Survival Evolved, Team Sonic Racing, Ghostrunner, and a multiplayer spin off of Ghost of Tsushima, Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. 

PlayStation Plus Essential also includes online multiplayer access, cloud storage for all those save games, and discounts on selected items in the PlayStation store.

Halo Infinite campaign nexus cutscene

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Xbox Game Pass Console

Price – $9.99 per month or £7.99 per month

The cheapest tier of Xbox Game Pass, this will get you access to over 100 Xbox games, including Xbox Game Studios like Halo Infinite on the same day they release to the paying public. It’s worth noting that this group of game development studios includes big names Bethesda, Obsidian, 343 Industries, and Arkane, so you can expect blockbuster titles like Starfield to appear in your library.  It does not include EA Play titles. Currently there are 454 titles in the Xbox Games Pass library, and Xbox Games Pass Console subscribers can play 362 0f them – the other 92 are EA Play titles – for free.

Xbox Game Pass Console does not include console multiplayer (you’ll need Xbox Live Gold for that), but does include special member discounts on selected items. 

Xbox Live Gold

What about Xbox Live Gold?

If you own an Xbox console and only care about multiplayer, another option is the $9.99 Xbox Live Gold subscription. This won’t get you access to the Xbox Games Pass library, but will allow online gaming, two free games a month and discounts on selected games. But with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just another $5, adding 454 games, Xbox Live Gold only delivers value for a small minority of Xbox gamers. 

Age of Empires 4 gameplay featuring a cathedral

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass PC

Price – $9.99 per month or £7.99 per month

As for the PC version of this tier, you will get access to over 100 Xbox games for PC, including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Tunic, and those Xbox Game Studios like Halo: Infinite on the same day they release. Unlike the console tier, you will get access to EA Play games. Currently, there are 419 games for PC available in the library.

Xbox Game Pass PC does not include PC multiplayer but does include special member discounts on selected items. 

Premium tiers

God of War

(Image credit: Sony)

PlayStation Plus Extra

Price – $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly or £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly 

For $5 more than the PlayStation Plus Essential tier, you will also get access to “up to” 400 PS4 and PS5 games available for download. These games will include both PlayStation Studios games and games from third-party studios like Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mortal Kombat 11.

PlayStation Plus Extra also includes online multiplayer access, cloud storage for all those save games, and discounts on selected items in the PlayStation store.

Psychonauts 2

(Image credit: Double Fine)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Price – $14.99 per month or $10.99 per month

The most expensive Xbox Games Pass Tier, Ultimate gives you access to the same Game Pass library titles but across console, PC, and mobile. As with the cheaper tiers, that includes day-one access to titles from Bethesda, Obsidian, 343 Industries, Arkane, and more, and select backwards compatible games from the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One generations. This tier also includes access to the EA Play Subscription service as part of the package across console and PC. That’s 454 games and counting. 

This tier also adds access to console multiplayer and cloud gaming – which gives you the ability to play a selection of console games on PC, mobiles, and tablets – perks and free in-game items, and the old Xbox Live Gold benefits like Deals with Gold and Games with Gold.

PlayStation Plus Premium

Price – $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly or £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly 

The most expensive PlayStation Plus tier adds another 340 games to the benefits offered by Essential and Extra. These additional titles are from the PlayStation, PS2, and PSP generations – available to stream and download – and PS3 games via cloud streaming. Sony has not confirmed the full list of titles for this part of the service yet. PlayStation Plus Premium will also include exclusive access to free time-limited game trials of selected games.


PS5/Xbox SeriesX

(Image credit: Sony / Microsoft)

Right now we have to make the call without all the information from Sony about what vintage games we’ll be able to play with PlayStation Plus Extra and PlayStation Plus Premium, but we do know that they won’t follow the Xbox Games Pass model for Sony Studios titles. CEO Jim Ryan has confirmed that PlayStation exclusives like God of War Ragnarok will not be available on the service on day one. 

If you’re a gamer for who multiplayer is a must-have, you’ll need the $9.99 PlayStation Plus Essential subscription on PlayStation and the $9.99 Xbox Live Gold or the $14.99 Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Xbox. 

If you’re in for the games, the choice is clearer for the console agnostic. Die-hard PlayStation fans who are keen to dive into the history of the consoles will find a lot to explore in the Extra and Premium tiers, but for overall game library value Xbox Games Pass Ultimate still can’t be beaten. With access to big titles on release without a wait, games from publishers like EA, and the option to play on PC or Xbox, Xbox Games Pass plus is still the best deal, and cheaper than the PlayStation Plus Premium subscription. 

For more information on Sony’s new service, check out our explainer on the PS Plus Tiers and our look at what PlayStation needs to deliver with the PS5 Game trials for PlayStation Plus Premium

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